Welcome to the Union County Division of Individual and Family Services
The mission of the Union County Division of Individual & Family Support Services (DIFSS) is to provide an array of county-wide human services programming through the most cost effective use of funding from County, State and Federal resources. This is accomplished either by direct delivery of services or by funding community-based organizations to deliver services.
By working together with other government agencies, nonprofits and private sector supporters, the Division can help residents with program areas of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, Mental Health Services, Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, Rape Crisis Center, Homeless Assistance/Support Services, and Persons with Disabilities & Special Needs.
The Division also staffs various Freeholder appointed advisory boards that provide oversight and guidance for the various grant funded service delivery systems:
- Advisory Board on the Disabled (ABD)
- Homeless Trust Fund Advisory Board (HTF)
- Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC)
- Local Advisory Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (LACADA)
- Mental Health Board (MHB)
Main Phone 908-527-4842
Main Fax 908-558-2562
Christina Topolosky, Director 908-527-4839
Leslie Gutierrez, Assistant Director 908-527-4883
Office on Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse
The Office on Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse is available to help you find a resource to address your well-being. If you are looking for specific information about services for Mental Health, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, or prevention efforts, please click on the links provided below.
Code Blue (CB) Emergency Shelter Initiative
About the Initiative
In an effort to respond to the plight of homeless individuals and families during severe winter weather, Union County Department of Human Service, in concert with the Division of Emergency Management and Union County Police implemented a Countywide Code Blue (CB) in December 2007 to prevent death and injury among homeless people during periods of extreme weather conditions. Union County’s CB initiative is the first countywide service of its kind in New Jersey. As a model for innovation and responsiveness, CB received the 2009 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.
A CB alert starts with the Union County Office of Emergency Management, which transmits warnings of severe, potentially life-threatening cold weather from the National Weather Service. The threshold for activating CB is an overnight temperature below 25 degrees Fahrenheit or temperature of below 32 degrees Fahrenheit with precipitation. The alert goes out to the county’s Department of Human Services, which notifies emergency shelters, community organizations, and the County Police. The County Police get the word out to law enforcement personnel in all 21 municipalities. The early warning gives communities time to identify and locate people potentially in need of help. Shelters get time to arrange for extra beds using cots provided by the County. County and municipal police go on the lookout for persons needing shelter, and assist them with transportation.
All CB shelter placements are made by the Division of Social Services. During the CB period emergency shelters are expected to increase bed capacity. Once shelters are filled to capacity alternate arrangements will be made by Union County Division of Social Services. Along with providing temporary shelter, CB helps tackle issues related to chronic homelessness. Persons seeking emergency shelter on a CB alert are provided with screening and counseling to help them get back on their feet over the long run.
Code Blue Procedures
- CBwill be activated by Union County Department of Human Services/Division of Planning and Office of the Director in conjunction with the Union County Department Public Safety/Divisions of Emergency Services.
- Municipal Police Departments will be notified when a CB is activated.
- The Division of Planning will notify CEAS/CoC organizations when a CB is activated by 10:00 a.m. by notification through the First Alert system. It is the responsibility of the member agencies to register for First Alert (instructions on registration are included).
- Emergency shelters are expected to extend their capacity to highest possible levels on these nights.
- All CB placements will be made by the Union County Division of Social Services.
- Individuals and families should be referred to UCDSS between 8:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.
- After hours (after 4:00pm) and when County offices are closed, all after hour referrals should be directed to the Union County Hotline at 908-249-4815 Additionally, walk-ins will be accepted at the Salvation Army (located in Elizabeth).
- Municipal Police Departments have been asked to transport individuals found on the street during a CB to UCDSS between the business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
REMINDER: On days when CB is not activated, after hour referrals should continue to be directed to the Union County 24-Hour Hotline 908-249-4815
As a reminder, to receive the CB Notifications you must be registered for the distribution list. Please follow the instructions below:
All CB alerts will be sent via the Union County First Alert system. If you would like to register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information: your first & last name and e-mail address. Once provided, you will receive an email containing a registration link allowing you to modify your new account and add your contact information in it.
Continuum of Care/Homeless Unit
The mission of the Union County Department of Human Services is to coordinate and deliver quality, cost-effective programs and services that recognize and respond to quality-of-life needs of Union County’s elderly, poor, underemployed and youth populations. The Division of Planning’s responsibility is to facilitate provision of a wide variety of countywide social and supportive service programs, including but not limited to, those homeless assistance services made available by local provider agencies.
The Union County Continuum of Care/Homeless (CoC/H) unit provides information and referral on safety-net services to promote self-sufficiency. Services are contracted with community and faith-based agencies specializing in homeless services (including homeless prevention). Staff support for the Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Systems and Continuum of Care (CEAS/CoC) Committee is also provided. To join CEAS/CoC Committee and/or be added to the distribution list: please check out the Agency Contact & Voting Representative Information Form.
The CEAS/CoC Committee usually meets the 2nd Thursday of every month (unless otherwise indicated*), starting in January. Please note that CEAS/CoC does not meet during the months of July and August. The 2020 meeting schedule is as follows:
- dates coming soon
Kindly add these dates to your calendar as your attendance and participation are important to overall CoC efforts in combating homelessness. Please refer to meeting notice as the date/location/ time are subject to change.
If you have any questions, please contact:
- Jasmine Whitous at 908-527-4861 or email@example.com
- Samantha Carpio at 908-527-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- James F. Frazlius at 908-527-4841 or email@example.com
Note that location/time is subject to change. If you have any questions, please contact the CEAS/CoC Committee support staff at 908-527-4861.
Proposed Agenda for the next CEAS/CoC meeting: September 13th
Collaborative Application for the FY2019 SuperNOFA CoC Program Competition
- Call for Ltr of Intent for New Project(s)
- Ltr of Intent due Wednesday, July 24, 2019
- Application Submission
- The ranking recommendations were reviewed and approved at the September 12, 2019 CEAS/CoC Committee meeting.
Collaborative Application for the FY2018 SuperNOFA CoC Program Competition
- Call for Ltr of Intent for New Project(s)
- Ltr of Intent due Monday, August 6, 2018
- Application Submission
- The ranking recommendations were reviewed and approved at the September 13, 2018 CEAS/CoC Committee meeting.
Collaborative Application for the FY2017 SuperNOFA CoC Program Competition
- Call for Ltr of Intent for New Project(s)
- Application Submission
- The ranking recommendations were reviewed and approved at the September 22, 2017 CEAS/CoC Committee meeting.
2017 Point‐In‐Time Count of the HomelessConducted on January 24, 2017.
The Union County 24-Hour Homeless Hotline is: 908-249-4815.
For information about Foreclosure Assistance, please check out the Foreclosure Resources, provided by the Union County Foreclosure Task Force.
For information about the Code Blue Homeless Emergency Shelter Initiative, please check out the Code Blue website.
- NJ 2-1-1
- NJ Helps
- NJ Find a Ride
- Legal Services of NJ
- NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition
- NJ Housing Resource Center
- NJ Self-Help Group Clearinghouse
- NJ Family Care (health insurance program)
- Affordable Care Act (health insurance program)
- NJ Community Resources
- NJ Department of Human Services
- NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
- NJ Dept. of Community Affairs –Div. of Housing & Community Resources
- End Hunger NJ
- Anti-Poverty Network of NJ
Staff Contacts for the CoC/H Unit:
- 908-527-4861 (Homeless & Homeless Prevention Information/Referral)
- 908-527-4841 (Homeless & Homeless Prevention Information/Referral)
- 908-527-4837 (Continuum of Care & Information/Referral)
- 908-527-4828 (Continuum of Care & Information/Referral)
Human Services Advisory Council
The Union County Human Services Advisory Council (HSAC) function and responsibility is to develop and implement a process through which the human service needs of the people of Union County can be addressed by advocating for human services programming in an organized and cooperative manner, thereby ensuring the effective use of resources in the most equitable way, while enhancing communication and coordination among service providers, funding agents and recipients of services.
In each County throughout NJ, HSAC serves as the primary vehicle for making local recommendations to assist both the County government and the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) and Children & Families (DCF) decision making; identifying the high priority human service needs for the community at-large; the coordination and improvement of services to target populations; the planning, coordination and implementation of NJDHS/NJDCF initiatives at the county level; and input to the NJDHS/NJDCF on funding priorities and allocations.
Each year HSAC reviews and evaluates the following programs for funding for the Family & Support Service Program (FSP), Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), HEARTH Emergency Solutions Grant (HES) and Social Services for the Homeless (SSH).
HSAC usually meets the 1st Wednesday of every month (unless otherwise indicated*), starting in February. Please note that CEAS/CoC does not meet during the months of January, July and August. The 2020 meeting schedule is as follows:
Time and Location
9:00 AM Warinanco Park Sports Center, 1 Park Drive, Roselle, NJ 07203
- Dates coming soon
Please note that the meeting date, time and location are subject to change. If you are interested in becoming a member and/or have any questions, please contact the HSAC staff noted below.
Sarah Cordoma 908-527-4842 firstname.lastname@example.org
Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
All Union County Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC) classes have been cancelled until further notice. If you have questions, please email email@example.com or call 888-845-3434 or 908-558-2288. Please note that there may be a delay in IDRC response due to increased call/email volume during this time
Rape Crisis Center
Administrator: Tamara Adelman
24-hour Hotline: 908-233-RAPE (7273)
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Brochures:English | Spanish
What is the Union County Rape Crisis Center?
Under the auspices of the Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Planning, the Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC) offers a network of services to Survivors of sexual assault.
What Are The Services Offered?
Accompaniment to Hospitals, Police Departments, and Court by certified Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates.
Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates receive specialized training on sexual trauma, crisis intervention, and advocacy.
Staff can provide consultation to service providers in the community working with survivors of sexual assault.
To mental health professionals, hospital personnel, and law enforcement.
Informative materials on rape, incest, sexual harassment, and child sexual abuse are available.
A major objective of the Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC) is to implement primary prevention education throughout Union County. The New Mexico Media Literacy Project (NMMLP), also referred to as “Media Literacy”, is currently being used to achieve this goal.
Today, the definition of what it means to be a “man or woman” is increasingly influenced by mass media. It is therefore believed, that youth can especially benefit from assistance with developing critical thinking skills. Such skills can aid them in effectively navigating the negative dimensions of popular culture including violence, gender stereotyping, and sexualized media content.
The UCRCC is implementing a fun, dynamic Media Literacy curriculum for high schools in Union County. This curriculum teaches students how to analyze and evaluate the way media shapes gender roles, impacts self-image, and influences behavior. It is believed that by becoming empowered and self-aware, youth will be more effective at resisting the constant stream of violent or hyper-sexualized messages in print, television, or online.
If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact the Union County Rape Crisis Center at (908) 233-7273.
All Services Are Confidential and Free of Charge
Office for Persons with Disabilities & Special Needs
Manuel Ramirez, Coordinator
About the Office
Welcome to the Office for Persons with Disabilities & Special Needs website! We are delighted that you’ve chosen to visit us on the world wide web. By clicking on the links listed below and your left, this site will provide you with important information about the programs and services we offer, as well as the many state and federal resources available.
You will have the opportunity to read information on a variety of topics. You may contact the office at 908-527-4807 or via e-mail. We hope that you find this resource useful, and that you will come back often.
The Advisory Board on the Disabled (ABD) meets throughout the year to study and evaluate matters affecting the interests of Union County residents with disabilities and advise the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders accordingly. For more information about the ABD, please contact (908) 527-4807.
The office works to advance independent living and assists consumers with disabilities in realizing their full inclusion in all aspects of county life. The Office also promotes community-based living options.
- To provide recreational and social opportunities for residents living with special needs including physical, cognitive and developmental challenges;
- To provide outreach to community groups and organizations to identify needs and interests of persons and families living with special needs as an opportunity to design effective programs;
- To develop additional resources to fund programs targeting engagement of persons living with special needs;
- To identify and implement an effective means of communication to educate community residents on programs and social events available such as yoga, ceramics, zumba, cooking, golf, swimming, sensory friendly theatre shows, a carnival and a barn dance.
Personal Assistance Services Program (PASP)
The Office administers the Personal Assistance Services Program (PASP) in Union County. The PASP helps program participants pursue vocational goals and live independently. The PASP can assist people with disabilities who are working, going to college, attending a vocational training program or involved in volunteer activities (minimum of 20 volunteer hours per month). To be eligible, PASP applicants must have a permanent physical disability, be age 18 through 70, be capable of self-direction, able to supervise a personal assistant and live in a community-based residence in New Jersey. Personal assistants can assist with essential daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, wheelchair-bed